cover image Toxic Superfoods: How Oxalate Overload Is Making You Sick—and How to Get Better

Toxic Superfoods: How Oxalate Overload Is Making You Sick—and How to Get Better

Sally K. Norton. Rodale, $17.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-13958-5

This informative if blinkered debut by health consultant Norton contends that oxalates, or chemical toxins produced by many commonly eaten plants, are poisonous and “destructive to your health.” Norton explains that oxalates—found in high concentrations in such foods as spinach, beet greens, chard, and almonds—help plants save carbon, but the chemicals also serve as a defense system by taking the shape of “spiky ‘disco balls’ ” that irritate the mouth and digestive tract. Adopting a low-oxalate diet, the author suggests, can help with such health problems as hypothyroidism and chronic fatigue, in addition to improving concentration and sleep quality, and she recounts how cutting high-oxalate foods out of her diet resolved her chronic joint pain. The extensive charts showing the oxalate content of various foods make it easy to follow a low-oxalate diet, but Norton’s single-solution approach leans toward proselytizing, with over-the-top client testimonials peppered throughout (“I just wanted to let you know how blown away I am by the complete pain relief.... BLESS YOU, WOMAN”) and little consideration given to balancing low oxalate intake with other dietary and nutritional considerations. Though this sometimes veers close to touting a miracle cure, readers who keep the advice in perspective will find a straightforward resource for potentially curbing a host of symptoms. (Dec.)